WCU, Green Energy Park offer blacksmithing classes

Western Carolina University’s Office of Continuing Education will offer adult (18 years and older) blacksmithing classes this fall and winter in cooperation with the Jackson County Green Energy Park.

• “Introduction to Coal Forging,” 2:30-6:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 22, and Sunday, Oct. 23. This class is for students with no prior experience in blacksmithing. Participants will learn about the construction and operation of a coal forge as they develop basic blacksmithing skills. The cost is $95.

• “Introduction to Chainmaille,” 9-1 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 12, and Sunday, Nov. 13. This course will teach participants, including beginners, the basic skills they need to create chain mail, including which tools to use, construction and patterning. Participants will learn multiple weaves and experiment with different gauges of wire and mixed metals. The cost is $85, with a $35 refundable deposit.

• “Intermediate Blacksmithing,” 2:30-7:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 17, and Sunday, Dec. 18. This class requires some foundational experience in blacksmithing. Participants will learn about a coal forge as they work on basic blacksmithing skills. Efficiency and safety are a focus, and students can expect to develop better hammer control and metal manipulation as well as a number of other skills. The cost is $125.

• “Beginning Knife Making,” 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 17, and Sunday, Dec. 18. For individuals with introductory experience in blacksmithing. Participants will begin by making a simple butter knife from steel and progress to making a blade from a railroad spike or spring steel. The cost is $125.

Brock Martin will lead the classes at the Jackson County Green Energy Park in Dillsboro. Martin began his blacksmithing career working under William Rogers, a master blacksmith, at the Green Energy Park. He also has apprenticed with master blacksmith David Burress of Calerin Forge to expand his knowledge of forging medieval arms and armor. Martin is a graduate of WCU’s entrepreneurship program and hopes to make blacksmithing his career.

Space for classes is limited and pre-registration is required. For more information or to register, call WCU’s Office of Continuing Education at 828.227.7397 or go online to learn.wcu.edu. To learn more about the Jackson County Green Energy Park, go online to www.jcgep.org.

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